Making 17th Century Absolute Monarchs Fun... with Google!

My Personal Challenge
I have been working hard to teach my students research and technology skills this year. My freshmen have learned:
- to read and summarize information from several sources;
- to create an annotated bibliography using Turabian format;
- to look up and use images from Creative Commons without violating copyright;
- to use Google Scholar to find reliable scholarly sources for research;
- to create a Google account and share editing privileges with multiple classmates;
- to link Google Presentations with Google Documents.

My goals for the rest of the year are for my students to be able:
- to properly quote and credit primary sources with endnotes;
- to write a research paper with a strong supported thesis;
- and to create a documentary with PhotoStory.

I think they can do it!

My Latest Challenge to My Students
Here is their latest research project using Google Applications:
They had to create a lesson, complete with visuals, a handout, and optional multimedia on an absolute ruler from Austria, Russia, or Prussia in the 17th century.
Click here for the requirements and grading rubric.

They Rose to the Challenge
The results were pretty impressive. I provided links to a couple of examples below. Note the last slide of their presentations where they linked their annotated bibliography, pictography, handout, and answer key. I'm looking forward to seeing the live presentations in class tomorrow!

Frederick II of Prussia

Peter the Great of Russia

The Hapsburgs: Charles VI & Maria Theresa


  1. The slides look great and it's very impressive that students built them based on reliable research and without breaking copyright codes.

    I've been thinking a lot about presentations lately - bothered by the lack of planning and poor performances in my classroom. I've been wondering what would happen if we took away all of the technology and all of the notes. Would presentations go exactly the same or do students use these visual aids as a crutch? And, if students are just reading during their presentations, are they really thinking deeply about their subjects?

  2. After February break I'll be taking a section of students with our history teacher to focus on this type of research. The end result will be to create a podcast that shares their new found knowledge surrounding a field of interest of their choice. The visual media will also be removed but in its place the potential for some auditory flair. I'll be curious to see how many kids spend their time dubbing in music or special effects instead of sharing the content in a personal way.


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